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David's diary: February 1997

It's been one of those days at work. Started off quite well, and then deteriorated as the hours passed, until in the end, I couldn't get out of the office quick enough.

Yesterday evening I had a sudden flash of inspiration about this beam-loading simulation, when I realised that the G's and M's in the stress values etc were not some bizarre mechanical engineering unit, but were in fact giga- and mega- prefixes, explaining why the results I was getting were about nine orders of magnitude wayward! Giganewtons are not really quantities I can readily conceive in connection with beams made from not much more than cornflake packets and sticky-backed plastic, but I guess you learn something every day... Anyway, spurred on by that dramatic realisation, I then managed catastrophically not to make the rest of the calculations make sense - I clearly still have a long way to go before I really understand what's going on.

Then late this afternoon I got a very stroppy e-mail, clearly directed at me, though with a recipient list that read like a who's-who. Basically it appears I got completely the wrong end of the stick about the language project, which is in fact going entirely to plan, with complete agreement between all parties involved, and I should research my "facts" before claiming otherwise. This was in reply to a memo which I was under absolutely no obligation to have sent to its respondant, who only received it thanks to my courtesy, and which was in fact mainly very positive but with a few justified reservations. The positive aspects of course were not mentioned at all, with the person in question obviously bitter that anyone could possible reveal that their pet project was in fact pretty shambolic, and that I am no longer able to commit 100% of my time to it. When I am required to write a report on what I have done during a month, I don't see why I should have to consult others in order to produce a sanitised version of the truth; such a report can only ever be subjective, and when there's been no programming to do, only endless meetings to sit through at which nothing really gets decided and even less gets minuted, it's hard to be over-positive. They would be better advised to determine the root of such sentiment and do something about it, rather than just shoot it down as ill-researched lies.

If I didn't like working for the O.U. so much in general, I would almost certainly be scouring the job advertisements tonight. As it is, they are excellent employers, but the politics get nasty, especially where competitive funding is involved. My unit manager has always been of the contention that this language thing was not an appropriate first project for me to get involved with, and if this escalates any further I will ask to be removed from it. We have a big meeting on Monday which I was really looking forward to, since something was likely finally to have been decided, but now I'm going to be scared to say anything for fear of being ridiculed. It's not a nice atmosphere, especially when someone who used to listen and respect you, attempts instead to humiliate you and identify you as the cause of all their ills.

When I see how many separator bars there are in my logs without any readers, it reminds me that I haven't written anything for quite a few days, and that's a shocking state of affairs.

Well what have I been up to? I think the problems at work have largely blown over, and I've managed to get back into the language folks' - well most of them anyway, some are insufferable - good books. I developed a very well-received prototype for a multimedia crossword puzzle, with lots of sound and colour etc. Nothing really too radical, but exactly - in fact more than - what they were after, and they lapped it up happily. The fact that I had a fully working demo running within three days of the meeting at which it had been suggested, rather helped my case, I suspect, and I went on to produce further similar activities in a matter of hours - well they didn't realise that in fact most of the activities they suggested are basically the same, only slight differences in presentation!

We've started a new course at the MKCF mid-week meeting - temporarily replacing the church's house-groups - which is proving to be very good. The course, called "Enemies of the Soul", or EOTS for short, has now been running for two weeks and is getting pretty good attendance. So far, we have been covering the issue of bitterness, but the course includes teaching on probably dozens of things considered to be against ones best spiritual well-being; things which, of course, also have a huge bearing on day-to-day life. Tackling real problems from a spiritual perspective is what not only EOTS, but religion in general, is about, after all...

This weekend I drove up to Leicester to meet up with a net-friend and do some recording. We got a good quality mix of one of my tracks down onto DAT and RealAudio, and jammed a bit, mainly me on my WX/VL MIDI wind stuff and Alex on his MC-303 "Groovebox" and other gizmos. Interesting combination, it has to be said. It also opened my eyes to what a good MIDI studio should be like, and as a result I am probably going to completely revise my plans for my own studio improvements. Out goes the expensive multitrack recording, and in comes a fast PC with a semi-decent MIDI interface and a full-duplex audio card. The results spoke for themselves, and would have been unattainable using conventional studio philosophy, since absolutely anything could be - and was - adjusted, right up until the final commitment to DAT. With conventional multitracking, deciding at the last minute that you want to adjust one of the sounds, would entail re-recording the entire part in question, and if the offending part was already bounced in with other parts, most probably re-recording them as well!

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